There is an interesting account of the recent controversy at the Red Hen restaurant in Lexington, Va. from the father of White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders that has gone largely unreported. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has claimed that Stephanie Wilkinson “organized” a group to follow Sanders and her family to a nearby restaurant to scream at them. That is strikingly different from Wilkinson’s account and the account being offered in the media that Wilkinson politely asked Sanders to leave and nothing more. The many stories lionizing Wilkinson have cited her “passive” protest as proof of her “leadership.” If true, the account magnifies the rude and uncivil conduct of Wilkinson and it is clearly material to the story. Yet, only a few conservative sites have carried Huckabee’s account.
Huckabee stated on Fox:
“In fact, a little known part of this story, is that after Sarah and her husband left and the family relocated to a restaurant across the street, the owner of the Red Hen then organized an effort to go and scream at them from the sidewalk at the other restaurant,
Finally, one of Sarah’s in-laws, who happens to be very liberal, it’s her brother-in-law, went out in the street and said, ‘Look, Sarah’s already left. She didn’t stay for obvious reasons. She’s had all she needs tonight. The rest of us are trying to have dinner. I’m a liberal. I’m not a Trump supporter. But you guys aren’t helping our cause,’” Huckabee went on to say. “So, it wasn’t just what happened in the Little Red Hen restaurant, it’s what happened ongoing by the owner of that restaurant.”
Wilkinson previously told The Washington Post that s”I’m not a huge fan of confrontation. I have a business, and I want the business to thrive.” The disconnect between these accounts is rather glaring. Following Sanders and her family to another restaurant (and prompting the intervention of a self-described liberal) would paint a very different picture from past coverage on Wilkinson’s judgment and conduct.
The failure to add this critical information to coverage does raise a question of bias. It is a materially different story on the actions of this restaurant owner if she first told Sanders and her family to leave and then led a group to harass the family at someone else’s restaurant.
This story has (and continues to) captivate the country with coverage on all of the networks and cable news programs. If Huckabee’s account is true it is news. If it is untrue it is news. So why has it received so little coverage?